Singing Loudly: 2006 in review and beyond

Singing Loudly

Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 in review and beyond

This was a pretty good year for me. First, and perhaps most importantly, it was the first year that I was employed. I graduated in May 2005, took the bar that summer, and then began working in late August.

I started working at a large immigration law firm, but it was around December that I decided I needed a new job. I left the immigration practice to work with the Small Business Administration where I assisted disaster victims. That time is up and I will start next year doing what I've wanted to do for some time, working with indigent defendants, specifically helping with their appeals. This puts me in a unique branch of the public defender's.

My savings this year were quite incredible. I started an online savings account that is currently earning 5.05% interest. This year I made about $130 in interest and have over $6,000 saved. I also set up a CD with the same group that is earning 5.20% interest with an investment of $2,000. This totals over $8,000 in my savings account.

I also started an online investment where I purchased a number of stocks. I believe, due to my inexperience, my losses outweighed my gains, so I sold the underperforming stocks. However, I still have over $1,000 in investments.

Finally, I opening both a roth IRA (currently has about $3,000) and two mutual funds which have about $1,000. My checking account also has a healthier amount than should be sitting in a non-interest bearing account.

My total savings for the year is around $18,000 which is significantly more than 10% of my income. I consider this a major victory.

Debts have also decreased this year. I do not have any automobile debt, however, I have plenty of student loans. This year I have consistently paid off more than required, especially on my high interest rate accounts. I also do not have any credit card debt. This coming year will be good because my loans are finally consolidated.

I have made a few good purchases. I bought my own camping gear including a nice two person tent and one mummy sleeping bag that is rated at 45 degrees. I intend on buying another bag rated at 0 to 15 degrees and a hiking bag. I have also bought two pairs or road running shoes and a pair of trail running shoes for racing. I bought my first mountain bike this year and have enjoyed hitting the trails. Finally, I bought a new LCD tv to entertain me as I love dvds. I also just bought a small digital camera.

My charitable giving went up a minor amount. This year I donated to Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Sierra Club, and Catholic Charities.

My financial goals for next year are to continue cutting down on spending. This means less eating out, cutting the cable, and possibly buying less books. I will continue to pay more on my private loans than necessary, when possible, and the minimum amount on my consolidated loans. Finally, I hope that I can save between 8 and 10 thousand dollars this year in a mixture of 401K, online savings, mutual funds, and the roth IRA.

As far as other goals, I will continue running for fun and competing in some races. I would like to run my first 50K and 100 mile race this year. The plan is to qualify for the Western States 100 and try the lottery for it. I would also like to camp more and hang out with friends more.

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